Customs of the Twelve Months with Kyoka: Fifth Month
signed (mostly trimmed off) Utamaro ga with kao seal in shape of a Daruma doll ('Uta' in a circle, 'maru'), and Waka publisher seal (Wakasaya Yoichi of Jakurindo), ca. 1790-91
chuban tate-e 9 5/8 by 6 3/4 in., 24.5 by 17 cm
From an untitled series depicting scenes from festivities throughout the year. A woman holding a small boy kneels beside a large banner decorated with an image of a fiercely scowling Shoki, the legendary Chinese General and demon-queller. The infant seems to recoil slightly, clutching at her kimono, while a young girl stands nearby suppressing a giggle at the child's apparent fear. Images of Shoki were thought to ward off evil spirits and oni (devils) in particular, and were often employed as a protection from illness. The fearless General is also associated with The Boys' Festival which was celebrated on the 5th day of the 5th month. The kyoka poem is by Koma no Asahaya.
Shugo Asano and Timothy Clark, The Passionate Art of Kitagawa Utamaro, 1995, text, p. 113 (on series)
Gina Collia-Suzuki, The Complete Woodblock Prints of Kitagawa Utamaro, A Descriptive Catalogue, 2009, p. 296-297 (illus.)
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Milmine Collection, accession no. 53.2393
Scholten Japanese Art is open Monday - Friday, and some Saturdays by appointment only
Contact Katherine Martin at
(212) 585-0474 or email
to schedule a visit between 11am and 4pm for no more than two individuals at a time.
In order to adhere to New York State guidelines visitors are asked to wear face masks and practice social distancing.
site last updated
June 16, 2021
Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475
Join our mailing list...